Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message
Home | Blog Index | Blog Archives | Christianity & Faith Essays | Storm Chasing Essays

                   Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 1:51AM

The little MCS that could: June 9 lightning

Important Message 30 Years of Storm Chasing & Photography Dan's YouTube Video Channel Dan's Twitter feed Dan's RSS/XML feed

When I saw the outflow boundary blasting outward from the storms in southwest Virginia, I thought the chances of us seeing anything here were getting slim. However, when I checked radar again an hour later, new convection was riding the boundary northward into Boone County. Every scan, the tiny MCS held together as it inched northward. I went outside and up into the cemetery to watch it, expecting the flashes of lightning to slowly diminish to nothing when the storms died, as they often do after sunset in this type of pattern. But rather than die out, the lightning just kept going - even intensifying. Time to run down to the house and get the camera. I set up on a hill in the cemetery about 100 yards behind my house here in Charleston. I'm definately blessed to have this type of view within walking distance in this type of terrain!

Click to enlarge

The above shot was the best of the bunch, taken at 400 ISO when the storm was about 10 miles from town. Earlier, I was shooting at 800 ISO to capture the very distant bolts - colored red due to the long viewing distance through the atmosphere (just like a sunset). The lightning was probably farther than 15 miles away at that point: (click images to enlarge)

As the storm moved closer to town, the lightning became increasingly 'rain wrapped'. Very similar to a tornado getting rain-wrapped, in that contrast decreases and even complete loss of visible channels occurs. This is the last bolt that occured out of the rain before the drops arrived at my location:

Click to enlarge

Forced back inside due to the rain, I set up at my living room window where I caught this intense strike about a mile away. I was at F5.6 at 100 ISO due to the mostly dim intracloud lightning, but this bolt was too bright and overexposed, 'whiting out' the frame. Thanks to the technology of RAW images, I was able to bring the bolt out in Photoshop's RAW editor (though the overexposure was too much to recover a clean image, hence the gray swath along the main channel).

Click to enlarge

With the storm moving away to the north, I drove down to the Capitol to try to capture some anvil crawlers overhead. But as soon as I saw the Capitol, I turned around. The dome is STILL marred by the dreaded scaffolding, so it was pointless to try to get shots there. Hopefully they get that taken down soon, being that it is summertime (the season when the Capitol is photographed the most). Anyway, with a still-active storm just north of town, I headed north on I-79 to grab a few more shots, stopping near Big Chimney and Clendenin before calling it a night.

Click to enlarge

30 Years of Storm Chasing & Photography
Important Message
Dan's YouTube Video Channel
Dan's Twitter feed
Dan's RSS/XML feed

GO: Home | Storm Expeditions | Photography | Extreme Weather Library | Stock Footage | Blog

Featured Weather Library Article:

Lightning myths
Take a look at these common lightning myths. You might be surprised!
More Library Articles

All content © Dan Robinson. All usage requires a paid license - please contact Dan for inquiries.

Web Site Design and Internet Marketing by CIS Internet